DAN NEIL: STRONG NEEDS TO REMEMBER THE ALAMO

This season at HornsDigest.com, former Texas All-American offensive lineman DAN NEIL, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos (1997 & 1998) who opened holes for 2,000-yard rusher Terrell Davis, is breaking down film of Texas games and telling you what he sees. Catch Dan on “Upon Further Review” on the Longhorn Network on Mondays at 6 pm CT.

 

Growing up in Texas, we get the privilege of taking Texas History and learning what it means to be a Texan. 

One aspect of the curriculum is learning about a little mission in San Antonio called the Alamo. 

Texans are prideful people, and they love to tell the story of the Alamo (especially to the less fortunate who did not take Texas History and may not know the details). 

Well, I am one of those proud Texans, and before I break down what I saw from Texas against TCU on Saturday - here is the history lesson:

The legend is, at one point during the siege on the Alamo, Colonel William B. Travis, who was not a soldier but a lawyer, found himself in command of the army defending that famed mission in San Antonio. 

Travis was smart enough to understand there was no turning back and that he and the rest of the soldiers were going to die.

He saw three possibilities: 1) Surrender and summary execution ... 2) Trying to fight their way out only to be "butchered" by Mexican lancers ... or 3) "Remain in this fort … resist every assault, and to sell our lives as dearly as possible."

He then drew his sword and marked a line in the sand and remarked:

"I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line." 

Legend has it all crossed the line except one French soldier of fortune named Louis Moss Rose. 

Jim Bowie, who was ill and dying in bed, had some of his volunteers carry his bed across the line.

There are a few key points to the story that some may not know.  One is William B. Travis was the ripe old age of 26. 

The volunteers under Bowie did not respect Travis until he drew the line in the sand - and then follwed his every command.   

The other little-known fact is the one Frenchman who would not cross the line was told to pack his stuff and leave.  If you don’t want to be here, then get the hell out!

I know Charlie Strong is from Arkansas and might not know the story of Travis at the Alamo, but someone needs to tell it to him and buy him a sword. 

He needs to draw a line in the sand! 

He has to find those who are willing to cross the line and tell the other Frenchmen to “get the hell out of here.”

I do not care if this team wins another game.  I do care if the players wearing the burnt orange are proud to be wearing the burnt orange. 

There is a sign on the weight room at Texas that says: "The pride and winning tradition of The University of Texas will not be entrusted to the weak or the timid." 

What I cannot tolerate is players going out on the football field who think it is a right to wear the burnt orange and not a privilege. 

What I saw last year made me ill. 

What I have seen this year makes me proud. 

What happened Saturday was disappointing. 

Charlie Strong knows his team and the players better than we do.  All we can do is speculate from our cheap seats as to what needs to be done inside that locker room. 

I have confidence Charlie will do the right thing because he has before.  But, after spending 19 years in a football locker room, I do have some insight.

I believe freshman CB Kris Boyd is innocent until proven guilty. Charlie and his staff will be the judge, jury and executioner for Kris.

If he is guilty of tweeting during halftime that he wants to transfer to Aggieland, the first thing I would do is clean out Kris Boyd’s locker.

When the players reconvene to watch film today, I would gather everyone in the locker room, so they can see that Mr. Boyd is no longer there.

I would draw a line in the sand and be very clear that those who cross are going to be challenged like they have never been challenged before and the weak and timid should not cross. 

What’s left is the foundation you build your program on. 

Fear is a motivator.  Send the message that only those who want to be here are going to be here. 

If I am going to defend the Alamo, I want to defend it with those who want to be there.  

If I am going to go play a football game, all I care about is if I can count on the guys around me.  I want to know they know what they are doing and will battle for four quarters. 

If you are not willing to do that - go home.

Let me say what’s going on right now has nothing to do with whether the tight end is blocking or who they are throwing the ball to.

What’s going on has to do with leadership. 

Charlie talked about it after the game. 

“That’s what we’re not getting right now. When you don’t have that key guy, that’s what we are missing, that key guy, someone that can take the team over, we don’t have that key guy and we have to find that guy.”

It’s time to find those leaders.

You do that by seeing who is willing to cross the line and put in the effort to be great.

When the game looked like it was going to get out of hand in the first quarter, you could see players losing belief in their ability to win the game with looks of here-we-go-again.

This is the moment your “key guy” steps up.  He does not need to do any rah rah crap, he just needs to go out on the field and make a big play and tell everyone else “not today”  we’re not losing this game.

Actions speak louder than words, and playmakers make plays.  This is why there are leaders and followers.  

Travis had to become a leader at 26. Some of the young guys on this team have to become the leaders. 

Texas does not have that “key guy” right now.  There are guys who will develop into that role on the field in time.

Time is what Charlie and this team need.  I fully believe Charlie will get this team there, and I think the future is bright.  What he needs to do is get rid of those that do no share this belief.  

As I have said all year, I want to see a team go out and beat Baylor! 

Saturday was a step backward. 

Sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward.  

We need to take those steps forward, and I can’t think of a better game than OU!

 

 


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